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PFT's Week Two picks

[Editor’s note:  Each week, Rosenthal and I will go head to head,
picking the winner of each game.  The guy who does worse each week gets
to be the one to copy and paste together the text the next week.  Last week, we tied.  The NBC Competition Committee decided that I should have to copy and paste it all together again.  And so I’ll take the high road and accept the ruling.  In three days, after everyone applauds me for taking the high road, I’ll bitch about it on the radio.]

[UPDATE:  As it turns out, we didn’t tie.  Rosenthal won.  And I should have kept my damn mouth shut when I realized that he’d counted his victories incorrectly.]

Bills at Packers

Florio’s take:  In Week Two of the 2009 season, the Packers hosted an AFC team, and the AFC team stole a win.  In Win Two of the 2010 season, another AFC team comes to town.  But there’s a big difference between last year’s Bengals and this year’s Bills.  Even with Packers running back Ryan Grant done for the year, Green Bay has too much talent — and the Bills don’t have nearly enough.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 42, Bills 19.

Rosenthal’s take: This reminds me of the blowout specials Florio used to get to pick last year when we split the workload.  You could try to make a case for the Bills, but you’d be trying too hard.  Buffalo doesn’t have the receiver depth to test Green Bay’s secondary.  The Bills’ three-headed running game was oddly underused last week.  Their screens were predictable.  Holes closed on C.J. Spiller a lot faster than they did at Clemson or in the preseason.  Don’t expect daylight this week. 

Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 27, Bills 10.

Dolphins at Vikings

Florio’s take:  The Vikings’ offense and the Dolphins’ defense cancel each other out.  So this one will come down to the ability of the Minnesota defense to bottle up the Miami offense.  Given that the Bills were able to keep the attack largely in check last week, the Vikings should have no problems shutting them down.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 24, Dolphins 12.

Rosenthal’s take: Miami’s defense was impressive in Buffalo.  Mike Nolan did a lot of fun things with Karlos Dansby and Cameron Wake; they can get pressure on Brett Favre. Even short a few players, this is an improved linebacker group.  Favre also may not be ready to take advantage of a Dolphins secondary that features Benny Sappy a little too prominently.  There’s an old axiom that you shouldn’t pick a team to cover the spread unless you think they can win. 5.5 points feels like too much.  So let’s just go all the way and take the Dolphins in an upset special.  (I changed this pick at the last minute, which is the kiss of death.)  [Editor’s note:  Hey, Rosey, if you’re gonna pick the upset, just pick the upset and be done with it.]

Rosenthal’s pick: Dolphins 23, Vikings 21.

Chiefs at Browns

Florio’s take:  With former Patriot Scott Pioli running the Chiefs and former Patriot turncoat Eric Mangini coaching the Browns, this one carries a strong undercurrent of hostility.  Then there’s the fact that Browns running back Jerome Harrison shredded the K.C. defense for 286 yards last December.  Look for the new-look Chiefs to bring their new attitude to Ohio, and to send the Browns to a loss in the second of two games that most expected Cleveland to win.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 20, Browns 13.

Rosenthal’s take: Remember all the positive energy in Kansas City on Monday night?  Imagine that, but the complete opposite happening in Cleveland if the Browns fall behind Sunday.  Jake Delhomme’s injury doesn’t hurt the Browns, though.  Seneca Wallace is different, and could force the Browns coaches to get creative with a roster that begs for creativity to make up for a lack of talent.  Eric Mangini can’t afford to lose the Belichick B-team Bowl after last week’s collapse in Tampa.  Romeo Crennel knows just how to lose in Cleveland.

Rosenthal’s pick: Browns 17, Chiefs 14.

Bears at Cowboys

Florio’s take:  The Bears lucked into a win at home and the Cowboys squandered a victory of their own on the road.  This week, the Cowboys head back to Dallas, 25 years after the Bears authored a 44-0 beatdown of the ‘Boys.  The Bears haven’t won in Big D since the year after that game — and their streak of futility will continue.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 24, Bears 10.

Rosenthal’s take: No clue what to make of the Bears after last week.   Jay Cutler moved the ball very well, Matt Forte is revived, and the defense stuffed Detroit all day.  Yet they still needed a lucky call to save them from an opening loss at home.  The Cowboys are easier to read.  Their offensive line has problems and they know it.  The defense is great.  Will the return of two injured, older starting lineman be enough to turn things around?  It’s enough this week.

Rosenthal’s pick: Cowboys 24, Bears 20.

Cardinals at Falcons

Florio’s take:  The Cards barely beat a still-bad Rams team last week, and the Falcons gave fits to the Steelers on their home field.  Atlanta realizes that the window will close quickly if they can’t keep pace with the Saints.  Besides, Falcons are far more menacing birds.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 28, Cardinals 20.

Rosenthal’s take: Arizona fans complaining about style points last week need to get a grip.  Kurt Warner has left the building.  This is a different Cardinals team, and they are going to have to win creatively while Derek Anderson figures things out. The guy led two impressive fourth-quarter drives last week and that will do for now.  Matt Ryan, on the other hand, has struggled to move the ball since the preseason.  I think Atlanta’s improved defense carries the day here.  Both these teams deserve to be 1-1. 

Rosenthal’s pick: Falcons 19, Cardinals 14. 

Buccaneers at Panthers

Florio’s take:  Since 2003, the Panthers have handled the Bucs on 11 of 14 occasions.  Though Tampa pulled off a minor surprise on Sunday against the Browns, the Panthers can be expected to take care of business on their own turf.  If they can’t, Carolina could be 0-5 at the bye.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 24, Buccaneers 14.

Rosenthal’s take: The Bucs have a golden opportunity to go 2-0, even if Panthers starting quarterback Matt Moore plays as expected despite a concussion last week.  Raheem Morris has the Bucs defense looking improved, like they did at the end of last year.  These two similar teams fly well below the NFL radar and got against current league norms.  They want to win with running, defense, and not screwing things up too badly passing the ball.  John Fox has more practice.  And better running backs. 

Rosenthal’s pick: Panthers 20, Bucs 13.

Eagles at Lions

Florio’s take:  With Mike Vick making his first start since 2006, the question becomes whether he can play like he did against the Packers, who weren’t prepared to face him, when facing a Lions team that knows Vick will be the guy.  Lions coach Jim Schwartz never has had to defend Vick; when Schwartz served as defensive coordinator for the Titans, Schwartz’s team was the last one to play the Falcons before Vick returned from a broken leg.  Look for Schwartz to try to keep Vick in the pocket in the hopes that he’ll be forced to throw — and that he’ll force a few mistakes.  And then Kevin Kolb will get “healthy” quickly.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 20, Eagles 13.

Rosenthal’s take: The battle of the tortured fan bases.  The rest of the world learned about what it meant to be a Lions fan this week.  Week One, full of hope, they lost their young franchise quarterback and a game in the most painful way possible.  The Lions have a vertical passing attack with the weakest-armed quarterback in the league in Shaun Hill.  Eagles fans have it pretty good, but they like drama.  They talked up Kevin Kolb all offseason, then gave up on him after 30 minutes.  It’s hard to blame them after the way Michael Vick played last week.  Vick will put it to the Lions just to make this whole situation more ridiculous.

Rosenthal’s pick: Eagles 27, Lions 16.

Ravens at Bengals

Florio’s take:  The Bengals somehow swept the Ravens last year.  It won’t be happening again in 2010.  Baltimore looks as good as they ever have looked, and the Bengals looked nothing like they looked a year ago.  Look for Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis to continue to drop the hammer on anyone who looks in his direction.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 23, Bengals 9.

Rosenthal’s take: The Bengals defense said they were confused early against the Patriots.  So were guys like Tedy Bruschi that picked Cincinnati to go to the Super Bowl.  At least the Bengals passing attack showed signs of life after the early disaster.  It may have been garbage time, but Carson Palmer couldn’t put up big stats any time last year.  Unlike the Jets, Cincinnati has the weapons to take advantage of Baltimore’s secondary.

Rosenthal’s pick: Bengals 27, Ravens 23.

Steelers at Titans

Florio’s take:  Last year, these two teams kicked off a season that many assumed would end in a playoff rematch.  Neither qualified for the postseason.  This year, both look like they’re on their way to another trip to January.  It all comes down to the Steelers defense against the Titans offense, and the Steelers defense is simply too tough.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 13, Titans 9.

Rosenthal’s take: The Titans were my pick to win the AFC South in the PFT Season Preview, so I’m basically going to take them at home unless they are facing the ’85 Bears.  The Steelers defense isn’t at that level, but it could wind up being the best in 2010.  Pittsburgh can neutralize Chris Johnson — they held him to 57 yards in last year’s opener.  So it will come down Vince Young versus Dennis Dixon and Young should be up for the challenge. 

Rosenthal’s pick: Titans 14, Steelers 10.

Seahawks at Broncos

Florio’s take:  Former Broncos quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who was essentially run off when Josh McDaniels became the head coach, returns to town with a team that unexpectedly won in Week One by 25 points.  But it’s one thing to put a pasting on the 49ers at home in the season opener, it’s quite another to do it in Denver.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 24, Seahawks 17.

Rosenthal’s take: These teams that are a total mystery, especially the Seahawks.  Can Seattle play so inspired without the 12th man?  What is this team good at precisely?  It looks like Pete Carroll is going to make this defense better and more interesting.  The offense has work to do.  In Denver, I know what I’m getting from Kyle Orton and his band of merry secondary receivers.  The Broncos can beat suspect NFC West teams at home.

Rosenthal’s pick: Broncos 28, Seahawks 21.

Rams at Raiders

Florio’s take:  The Rams looked better than expected in Week One; the Raiders looked far worse.  But Oakland is at home and the Rams are still learning how to win.  Though neither team will be embarrassed, look for the Raiders to take care of business in the Black Hole.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 17, Rams 10.

Rosenthal’s take: The optimism stops here for one of these teams. The Raiders wouldn’t be able to sell progress after a blowout loss on the road and a home loss to the Rams.  Sam Bradford has given the Rams hope for the future, but the present looks awfully bleak if they go 0-2 with a soft opening schedule.  Two Raiders, including Jason Campbell, alluded to being overconfident heading into the Titans game.  You know, because of their draft grades.  Losing 11 or more games for seven years hasn’t humbled this franchise.  Maybe losing to the Rams will. 

Rosenthal’s pick: Rams 21, Raiders 17.

Texans at Redskins

Florio’s take:  The reunion of the Shanahans and Gary Kubiak adds intrigue to a game that suddenly has become one of the best of the weekend give the teams’ performances in Week One.  We’ll quickly find out whether Houston tailback Arian Foster rolled up all those yards because he played against a bad run defense or because the Texans have become the ultimate “pick your poison” pass/run attack.  And we’ll find out whether the Redskins’ offense can score a touchdown or two without having it handed to them.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 27, Redskins 24.

Rosenthal’s take: Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak are road favorites coming off a huge win. This is exactly the game they usually trip over, which worries me. Also worrisome:  Every aspect of the Redskins offense except their tackle play.  (How odd is that?)  Washington just doesn’t have enough firepower to hang with Houston, who should give Arian Foster a break and only rush him 25 times this week. 

Rosenthal’s pick: Texans 24, Redskins 17.

Patriots at Jets

Florio’s take:  During an offseason of incessant Jets chirping, the Patriots have remained largely silent.  Apart from Tom Brady’s acknowledgement that he hates the Jets, the Pats have avoided the trash talk.  Instead, the Patriots have saved it for the field, and the Jets may have a hard time saving themselves as the Pats make the only kind of statement that truly matters in football.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 35, Jets 13.

Rosenthal’s take: What goes up in the NFL usually comes down. And vice versa.  An overconfident team loses one week, gets ripped, and plays hungry the next time out.  Last year, Rex Ryan called the Jets’ Week Two game against the Patriots the team’s Super Bowl.  This one is far more important.  The Jets know they can’t go 0-2 at home to start the year. The Jets defense still looks great. The offense can find a way on the ground.  Don’t crown the Patriots yet; this will be a season-long battle.



Rosenthal’s pick: Jets 20, Patriots 16.

Jaguars at Chargers

Florio’s take:  Most expected one of these teams to be 1-0 and the other to be 0-1; few expected that the Jaguars would be undefeated and that the Chargers would be winless.  Though it may feel like a home game for the Jaguars since the stadium will be partially empty (rim shot!), the Chargers have the horses to get back to 1-1 against a Jaguars team that overachieved against the Broncos.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 30, Jaguars 21.

Rosenthal’s take: The Chargers talked all offseason about avoiding yet another slow start to the year, and then slogged through a loss in the Kansas City rain.  Weather should be more conducive to vertical passing in San Diego this week. I don’t trust either secondary or either pass rush, even if Aaron Kampman looks like a fine pickup.  I’ll take Philip Rivers in a shootout over David Garrard every time.

Rosenthal’s pick: Chargers 34, Jaguars 26.
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Giants at Colts

Florio’s take:  Peyton Manning has started 0-1 only three times in his 13-year career.  Only once, as a rookie in 1998, has Peyton Manning begun a season at 0-2.  This time around, Peyton takes an 0-1 mark into his second career game against his kid brother.  And more importantly than not going 0-2 to Peyton will be avoiding losing to Eli.  Sometimes, it really is that simple.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 31, Giants 19.

Rosenthal’s take: Both brothers have grown up a lot since the last Manning Bowl.  Peyton won a Super Bowl and did the United Way spot on Saturday Night Live.  Eli won a Super Bowl, got significantly better after the title, and adjusted his Southern fraternity mop top.  That makes this a fair fight, especially if the Giants pass rush has truly reawakened.  Fair, but not equal.  Peyton is still the one with MVPs and Peyton doesn’t start the year 0-2.

Rosenthal’s pick: Colts 34, Giants 30.

Saints at 49ers

Florio’s take:  Rarely if ever has a team with high expectations imploded as quickly as the 49ers.  They open their home schedule with a visit from the Saints, who will have had the longest possible non-bye-week time to prepare for the game, playing on a Thursday and next on the following Monday, 11 days later.  After the game, Niners coach Mike Singletary will be thanking Sean Payton in the same way Singletary thanked Pete Carroll.  

Florio’s pick:  Saints 30, 49ers 13.

Rosenthal’s take: Weirdly dangerous game for the Saints against an ornery 49ers team.  New Orleans fans don’t like that I questioned their run defense this week, but one game doesn’t erase all of last season and a shaky linebacker group.  Luckily, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams doesn’t have to get too creative to stop Alex Smith and the 49ers passing attack.  Load up the box, and dare Smith to beat you.  The Saints are in Payton/Brees version 5.0.  The essentially can do anything they choose with a veteran group of receivers.  The 49ers can’t get the play calls in on time.

Rosenthal’s pick: Saints 27, 49ers 21.

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Demaryius Thomas replaces Antonio Brown in Pro Bowl

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 1:  Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos is tackled by cornerback Sean Smith #21 and outside linebacker Malcolm Smith #53 of the Oakland Raiders after catching a pass in the third quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown won’t be doing any Facebook Live broadcasts from the locker room or practice sessions or elsewhere at the Pro Bowl.

Brown is out and Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas is in. For Thomas, it’s his fifth straight Pro Bowl appearance. He joins tight end Shannon Sharpe and safety Steve Atwater as the only players in team history to make it to the Pro Bowl at least five times in a row. (Sharpe and Atwater made it seven times each.)

The Broncos now have six Pro Bowlers. The game will be played Sunday in Orlando.

And, yes, people will watch it. Because it’s on TV.

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Wade Phillips’ departure from Denver was amicable

HOUSTON, TX- NOVEMBER 03: Wade Phillips of the Houston Texans coaches against the Indianapolis Colts on November 03, 2013 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Colts won 27 to 24. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

A draft analyst looking to pass along some of the scuttlebutt from the Senior Bowl got more than he bargained for on Monday, when Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips decided to fire back on Twitter at a report suggesting that Phillips was responsible for the rift between the Denver offense and defense in 2016.

“Your sources about me and dividing the team are an out and out lie,” Phillips said in response to the report. “I resent [you] saying that — ask any off coach or player.”

The forceful nature of Phillips’ reaction invited further digging. A source with knowledge of the situation said that there’s no truth to the notion that Phillips caused division within the team. He was, and still is, loved by the players.

While the source also said the split between the two sides was amicable, with Phillips wanting to move to L.A., where his daughter lives, there were other factors at play. Defensive backs coach Joe Woods was starting to become a hot name for potential defensive coordinator jobs; the Broncos didn’t want to lose him to another team. (Because Woods was still under contract, the Broncos could have blocked him. They believed the better course was to ensure he got his promotion without leaving.)

Also, money was an issue. Not this year, but a year ago. Phillips, per multiple sources, wanted to be the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the NFL after the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. The Broncos resisted, and Phillips entered his contract year with the intent of becoming a coaching free agent.

He did, and now he’s a member of the Rams. The Broncos in turn kept Woods, and both sides are pleased with the outcome.

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Bengals, Adam Jones’ lawyers release statements on arrest video

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks on the field before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) Getty Images

Attorneys for Bengals cornerback Adam Jones released a statement Monday night after video was released of Jones threatening and using profane language toward police officers who arrested him earlier this month.

Video showed Jones telling an officer he hoped he died and that he would lose his job as Jones was arrested on charges of obstructing official business, disorderly conduct, and assault three weeks ago.

The statement from Fessler, Scheinder and Grimme, LLP, said Jones is “deeply embarrassed and remorseful” and has the utmost respect for police officers. Jones also apologized to the team and its fans.

The Bengals also put out a statement in which the team said it’s extremely disappointed and offered an apology of its own. The team had previously not made any comment on the matter.

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Irsay will personally make G.M. hire

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 07:  Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay attends a press conference announcing Manning's release from the Colts at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on March 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joey Foley/Getty Images) Getty Images

The 49ers have received some flak for conducting a coach and G.M. search without the involvement of senior football executives and/or high-level football consultants. The Colts may be getting more of the same.

Per a league source, owner Jim Irsay will be making the G.M. hire on his own.

As a result, the current thinking is that Irsay will lean toward promoting Jimmy Raye III in lieu of finding someone from outside the building, for several reasons. First, Irsay already knows Raye and is comfortable with him. Second, Raye likely would be more inclined to try to make it work with coach Chuck Pagano than an outsider would be.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, it will be easier for Irsay to put Raye and Pagano on equal footing from an accountability standpoint. If they fail, Irsay presses the reset button and starts over. If, in contrast, Irsay made a big splash by hiring someone from the outside, then that G.M. would surely survive the firing of Pagano — making it harder right from the get go to get the two men on the same page.

So why is Irsay engaging in a seemingly traditional search if Raye is the guy? Think back to the 49ers in 2011, who interviewed multiple outsiders before giving the job to Trent Baalke. The process of screening external candidates legitimizes the internal candidate who gets the job, creating the impression that we won some sort of a contest.

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Raiders hire ex-Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 14:  San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano gives instructions while playing the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium on December 14, 2014 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders have announced the hiring of John Pagano as assistant head coach-defense.

Pagano has 21 years of NFL coaching experience and spent the last 15 seasons with the Chargers. He was defensive coordinator the last five seasons, and in two of those seasons the Chargers ranked in the top 10 in total defense.

Raiders Coach Jack Del Rio retained defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., but the addition of Pagano is still considered a significant move for a defense that ranked in the bottom third of the league in total yards, rush defense and pass defense.

Pagano is the brother of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. John Pagano previously worked with Del Rio in New Orleans in 1997.

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Is NFL regretting the Chargers’ move to L.A.?

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01:  A San Diego Chargers fan reacts to a Kansas City Chiefs interception during the first half of a game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 1, 2017 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The early days of the Chargers’ return to L.A. haven’t gone well. There’s now a question as to whether they’ve gone so poorly as to spark a full-fledged case of mover’s regret.

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com recently wrote that the move “angered NFL owners and executives just as much” as it angered folks in San Diego, if not more.

Per the report, the NFL has been “beside itself” regarding the move.

“There are a ton of owners very upset that [the Chargers] moved,” an unnamed source told Schefter, adding that the NFL actually wants the Chargers to move back to San Diego.

While there may be some who believe that the Chargers shouldn’t have moved and who may be pushing that agenda now, the prevailing view in league circles is that it’s a done deal. Indeed, it was a done deal a year ago, when the owners specifically gave the Chargers a 12-month window to move to L.A.

There was no equivocation or hesitation. The die was cast in January 2016, there was never a peep about it being a mistake for the ensuing 12 months, and then the Chargers opted to utilize the right to relocate.

As one source who is very well connected regarding franchise dynamics told PFT in response to the ESPN.com report, “I have heard nothing about it.”

There simply aren’t “a ton of owners” upset about the move. The more likely reality here is that some in the league office are sensing that the Chargers’ move to L.A. is going to be a debacle, and that they want to be able to say “I told you so” if/when the Chargers fail in L.A.

Regardless, the owners had a clear opportunity a year ago to tell Chargers owner Dean Spanos “no” to a move. The owners overwhelmingly allowed the Rams to move right away, and to give the Chargers the ability to do the same more than a year ago.

In the ensuing 12 months, there was never a public or private sense of remorse or regret. Yes, there was a periodic impression that owner Roger Goodell wanted to keep the team in San Diego, but there was never any report with the kind of specificity that has now emerged, far too late for it to matter.

Even if the Chargers would turn tail and return to San Diego, what would they do about a stadium? That’s the problem; the money isn’t available to build a stadium — unless Rams owner Stan Kroenke would be willing to write a very, very large check for exclusive rights to the L.A. market.

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Bills linebacker Zach Brown headed to Pro Bowl

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 4:  Linebacker Zach Brown #53 of the Buffalo Bills keeps tight end Mychal Rivera #81 of the Oakland Raiders out of the endzone on a 9-yard catch in the third quarter on December 4, 2016 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Raiders won 38-24.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bills linebacker Zach Brown has been named to the Pro Bowl. He replaces Dont’a Hightower of the Patriots, who is instead playing in the Super Bowl.

Brown led the Bills and set a career high with 149 tackles in 2016. He also had four sacks, two forced fumbles, eight quarterback hits, one interception and 11 tackles for a loss.

He is making his first trip to the Pro Bowl. The Bills now have six players headed to the Jan. 29 Pro Bowl, the most the Bills have had in a single season since 1998.

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Melvin Gordon added to Pro Bowl

San Diego Chargers' Melvin Gordon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts' Clayton Geathers (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) AP

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has been added to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.

Gordon missed the final three games of the 2016 season due to hip and knee injuries. His addition to the Pro Bowl indicates he’s been fully cleared and was held out in late December because the Chargers had been eliminated from playoff contention.

Gordon ran for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns in his second season after being kept out of the end zone as a rookie. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry and also had two receiving touchdowns.

Cornerback Casey Hayward is the only other Chargers player headed to the Pro Bowl, which will be played Sunday Jan. 29.

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Browns finalize four-year deal for Jamie Collins

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10: Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by outside linebacker Jamie Collins #51 of the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns announced on Monday that they have signed linebacker Jamie Collins to a new four-year contract.

A CBS Sports report last week said the sides were close on a four-year deal. NFL Network reported Monday that the deal is worth $50 million, $26 million guaranteed.

The Browns acquired Collins in a trade before the trade deadline last season. The Patriots traded him figuring they wouldn’t be able to meet his salary demands, and Collins started all eight games he played with the Browns. He had two sacks and a forced fumble in those eight games.

The Browns knew they were going to have pay a steep price to retain Collins, and they hope this new deal that makes him one of the highest-paid linebackers in football will be an important step in their rebuilding process.

“We are going to be aggressive about acquiring talent, and when we had the opportunity to trade for Jamie back in October, it was done with the intent of him becoming a long-term part of our defense,” Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in a team statement. “Jamie has shown throughout his NFL career that he is a very talented player with a rare skill set that allows him to impact games in a number of ways.”

Had Collins hit the open market in March, he likely would have been one of the most coveted free agents at any position. A second-round pick in 2013, Collins had been a starter since his second year with the Patriots before the trade. He has 12.5 sacks and five interceptions over his four-year career.

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Drew Brees’ Pro Bowl snub is rectified

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints runs out on the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Saints quarterback Drew Brees should have made it to the Pro Bowl as part of the original roster. He didn’t. He now has.

The team has announced that Brees will replace Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. Ryan has a date with a slightly bigger game in Houston one week later.

It will be the 10th trip to the Pro Bowl for Brees and his ninth with the Saints. He generated more than 5,200 passing yards in 2017, the fifth time in his career he has broken that barrier. (There have been only four other 5,000-yard seasons in league history.) Brees also set an NFL record with 471 completions.

Brees has been performing at a high level for so long that his talents often get taken for granted. In a league that doesn’t have nearly enough great quarterbacks, the quarterback who recently turned 38 definitely will be missed when he’s gone.

The other NFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks are Kirk Cousins (who has replaced Aaron Rodgers) and Dak Prescott.

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Pacman Jones to cop: “I hope you die . . . You’re gonna be out of a job”

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09:  Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones unleashed profane tirade on the Cincinnati police officer who arrested him on charges of obstructing official business, disorderly conduct, and assault three weeks ago.

Video from the officer’s car, obtained by TMZ, show Jones repeatedly calling the officer “a b–tch a– ni—-” and seeming to try to intimidate the officer.

“I hope you die tomorrow,” Jones said. “You’re gonna be out of a job tomorrow.”

The officer is not out of a job, but Jones might be soon. The arrest in and of itself was a strike against Jones, who has a significant history of off-field trouble. But when a player’s bad act is caught on video, it makes it much harder for a team to ignore.

There’s also the reality that Jones will turn 34 this year and has a $6.3 million base salary that the Bengals can clear off their books by cutting him. Although Jones started all 16 games in 2016, the Bengals may want to cut him purely for reasons related to age and the salary cap.

So regardless of how the legal case against Jones plays out, it wouldn’t be surprising if he has played his last game in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Police Department probably wouldn’t mind that.

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Stephon Gilmore lands in Pro Bowl

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 11:   Stephon Gilmore #24 of the Buffalo Bills can't make an interception thrown by  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at New Era Field on December 11, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills would like to get all 53 players to a postseason game. They’ll have to settle for roughly 10 percent of that amount playing in the Pro Bowl.

Cornerback Stephon Gillmore has made it to the Pro Bowl, giving the Bills five Pro Bowlers. It’s the most they’ve had since 1998, when the Bills had six.

It’s unclear who Gilmore is replacing; the announcement from the team doesn’t say so. It’s also possible that he’s the second choice behind Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who won’t be available to attend due to the team qualifying for the Super Bowl.

The AFC cornerbacks are Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Casey Hayward, and Chris Harris, Jr.

Gilmore would be wise to find a way out of the game. He’s due to become a free agent in March, and it makes no sense to risk injury as a major payday awaits.

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LeGarrette Blount: Tom Brady is the best ever, I don’t see an argument

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: LeGarrette Blount #29 and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrate against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tom Brady: Great quarterback, or the greatest quarterback? To LeGarrette Blount, the answer is clear.

After Brady led the Patriots to yet another Super Bowl, his seventh as their starting quarterback, Blount told reporters in the Patriots’ locker room that he can’t think of any reason anyone would call any other quarterback better.

“He’s the greatest quarterback of all time. People can argue, but I don’t see an argument. He piles on stats and wins and everything on his resume. Obviously he’s going to be a first-ballot hall of famer. As long as you have that guy on your team . . . we’re going to always have a chance,” Blount said.

There are, of course, arguments. There are always arguments when sports fans debate who’s the greatest. Some might choose Otto Graham or Johnny Unitas or Joe Montana or Peyton Manning over Brady.

But Brady is making a stronger and stronger case, at an age when most players are washed up. And against the Falcons, Brady can make his case stronger still. He can become the first quarterback with five Super Bowl rings and the first player to win four Super Bowl MVPs, and he can add to his all-time Super Bowl records for passing yards and passing touchdowns. With each game he’s bolstering his already strong argument.

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Kyle Shanahan set for second meeting with 49ers on Saturday

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 22:  Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan celebrates with Matt Ryan #2 after defeating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on January 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons defeated the Packers 44-21.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons will spend this week starting their preparations for Super Bowl LI against the Patriots and they’ll be heading to Houston on Sunday, but offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will squeeze in a little business related to another team on Saturday.

By all accounts, Shanahan is the man the 49ers want to be their next head coach and Falcons coach Dan Quinn said at Monday’s press conference that Shanahan will be free to speak with the team on Saturday. It will be Shanahan’s second interview with the 49ers.

This conversation is also expected to include candidates for the team’s General Manager job. Vikings assistant G.M. George Paton and Cardinals vice president of player personnel are believed to be the two candidates still in the running for the job.

With the Falcons playing in the Super Bowl, the 49ers obviously won’t be able to hire him as their head coach until after the game comes to an end on February 5. The way Atlanta’s offense played during their run to the Super Bowl certainly makes that wait a bit easier to take.

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T.J. Lang pulls out of Pro Bowl, Josh Sitton takes his place

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Josh Sitton #71 of the Chicago Bears moves to block Nigel Bradham #53 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagles defeated hte Bears 29-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang spent five seasons as the starting tandem of guards for the Packers before the run ended with Sitton’s release ahead of the start of the 2016 season.

Sitton landed in Chicago shortly after being released, where he started 12 games for the Bears and garnered enough votes in the Pro Bowl process to be in position to replace an NFC guard who dropped out of the game. Sitton got that call on Monday and he’ll be replacing Lang.

Lang left Sunday’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Falcons after aggravating a foot injury. He’s also been dealing with a hip injury and will have arthroscopic surgery on Friday to deal with it. Lang is headed for free agency and said after the loss that he wants to remain in Green Bay.

Sitton won’t be able to reunite with Lang in Orlando, but he will get a chance to play with Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari again as Bakhtiari was also named as an injury replacement on Monday.

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